Taiwan has just concluded its general elections with some amazing results.
From a long-term resident in Taiwan;
A twenty-five point victory for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the presidential election!
A huge, emotional crowd in Taipei for Tsai.
A very, very good day for the DPP, which will also control the Legislature for the very first time.
Here are a couple of articles giving an idea of what happened:
"Taiwan Elects 1st Female President, Rejects Pro-China Party", abc NEWS 1/16/16
"Landslide win for Taiwan’s pro-independence party", FRANCE 24 1/16/16
Michael ("Taffy") Cannings, who from time to time contributes to Language Log, referred to the massive DPP victory as a "Tsainami", a term that has really taken off:
"The internet is celebrating the election of Tawain's first female president with a clever hashtag", Business Insider 1/17/16
An unexpected factor that may have helped Tsai achieve her overwhelming victory has to do with a South Korean Pop group called Twice. This is an all girl band, which includes members from Taiwan and Japan, a truly East Asian group. Twice stirred up quite a controversy recently after a member of the band named Chou Tzu-yu waved a Taiwanese flag during a broadcast. Apparently, some people in China were not happy about this, with the result that Tzu-yu's South Korean agency, JYP Entertainment, felt compelled to release a statement saying in essence that "Tzu-yu respects one China policy…." Tzu-yu herself made an abject apology, the video of which immediately went viral and was viewed millions of times, resulting in a torrent of protest that the young girl had been forced to humiliate herself in such a fashion for merely displaying a small amount of enthusiasm for her native country (the flag was little, and she also held a Korean flag when she waved it).
For the video and the flags, see the following article in Slate:
“In Taiwan, online commentators compared her apology to hostage videos released by the Islamic State, although it was probably more reminiscent of the sort of humiliating confessions that dissidents are increasingly forced to make on Chinese state television,” notes the Washington Post’s China bureau chief Simon Denyer. Shortly after winning the election, Tsai made reference to the video that has been viewed millions of times. "This particular incident will serve as a constant reminder to me of the importance of our country's strength and unity to those outside our borders," she said.
In the video recording at the head of this article in Apple Daily (1/17/16), the then candidate Tsai Ing-wen can be heard defending Chou Tzu-yu saying that it is the natural right of any citizen of the Republic of China on Taiwan to express their feelings for their country by holding its flag, that they should not be rebuked for doing so, and that they deserve the support of their fellow citizens.
Grammatically, some new adversative passive constructions have been devised that are based on Chou Tzu-yu's experience (having to deliver her forced, abject apology):
bèi dàoqiànle 被道歉了 ("to be apologized")
bèi zuò Zhōngguórén le 被做中国人了 ("to be Chineseized")
Many other examples of searing weibo (microblog) criticism concerning the election in Taiwan are collected in this aboluowang article.
Such adversative passive constructions have been common in online political discourse in recent years. Some of the most popular examples include, of course, "to be disappeared", which already had a long history outside of Chinese, but has been particularly prominent in China within the last few months with regard to human rights lawyers, Hong Kong booksellers, mainland feminists, and so on. Another (in)famous instance is "be harmonized" or punningly "be river-crabbed" (see here), which is unique to China.
Finally, it's a curiosity that Tsai Ing-wen's given name, Yīngwén 蔡英文, means "English". I don't know how that came about, whether it was chosen deliberately because it means English", or whether that meaning was not a factor in its choice.
[Thanks to Youngmin Lee and Mark Swofford]